Sydney, Australia, Forces over 1 Million People into Lockdown

A man plays a song on a guitar on the Sydney Harbour in front of iconic Opera House on May 11, 2016. Australia's jobless rate was at 5.7 percent in March, but is forecast by the government in its annual national budget unveiled last week to fall to 5.5 percent …
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state government ordered more than 1 million people in Sydney to observe a Chinese coronavirus lockdown beginning on Friday and expected to last until at least July 2.

The lockdown began at 11:59 pm on June 24 and applies to downtown Sydney and three of the city’s eastern suburbs: Waverley, Woollahra, and Randwick. Affected areas include Sydney’s Central Business District and the famed Bondi Beach.

People who live or have worked in any of the four affected local government areas (LGAs) within the past two weeks must stay home for the next seven days, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on June 24.

The NSW government will allow people observing Sydney’s lockdown to leave their homes for the following reasons only, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): “Shopping for food or other essential goods and services; Medical care or compassionate needs; Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer; [and] Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home.”

“Business in the affected LGAs that don’t provide essential goods or services, such as groceries, are also required to close,” ABC reported.

“NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed weddings, funerals, and community sport could continue but other non essential businesses and other services in houses of worship would need to stop [sic],” according to the broadcaster.

“Residents in a further three LGAs — Canada Bay, Inner West and Bayside — will not be able to travel outside of the Sydney metropolitan region for non-essential reasons,” ABC revealed Thursday. “This restriction had already been in place, however the NSW government today announced that would be extended until 11:59pm on Friday, July 2 [sic].”

NSW government authorities ordered parts of Sydney into lockdown on Friday to contain new clusters of the Chinese coronavirus recently detected in the metropolis. Sydney is home to roughly six million people and is Australia’s most populous city. NSW health officials recorded 22 new cases of the Chinese coronavirus in Sydney as of June 25, bringing the city’s total caseload to 70.

Sydney’s seven-day lockdown will cost the city’s economy roughly $310 million AUD (about $235,231,100 USD), the Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told reporters on June 25 that he has asked the Australian government to allow Sydney workers access to a federal Chinese coronavirus disaster payment plan in light of the city’s lockdown.

“Mr Perrottet has asked his federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg to allow workers impacted by the shutdown to be eligible for a temporary $500 [about $379 USD] weekly payment if they worked more than 20 hours in the week before lockdown or $325 [about $246 USD] if they worked fewer than 20 hours [sic],” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The payment only kicks in if a hotspot is locked down for eight days, but Mr Perrottet will argue that NSW should also receive the payment, despite its lockdown slated for seven days [sic],” the newspaper noted.

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